Bardo of dying

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The bardo of dying (Skt. mumūrṣāntarābhava; Tib. འཆི་ཁ་གནད་གཅོད་ཀྱི་བར་དོ་, chikha né chö kyi bardo, Wyl. 'chi kha gnad gcod kyi bar do) or more literally 'the bardo of the ceasing of the vital elements at the moment of death' — one of the four or six bardos. Teachings on the bardo of dying usually contain the instructions for phowa practice.

'Root Verse' for the Bardo of Dying by Padmasambhava[1]

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༈ ཀྱེ་མ་བདག་ལ་འཆི་ཁ་བར་དོ་འཆར་དུས་འདིར༔






Now when the bardo of dying dawns upon me,

I will abandon all grasping, yearning, and attachment,

Enter undistracted into clear awareness of the teaching,

And eject my consciousness into the space of unborn rigpa;

As I leave this compound body of flesh and blood

I will know it to be a transitory illusion.

Alternative Translations

  • bardo of death
  • painful bardo of dying


  1. Extracted from bar do rnam pa drug gi rtsa thig bzhug so, which pertains to the cycle of the Bardo Tödrol Chenmo. Translation by Sogyal Rinpoche, see The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, page 227.

Teachings Given to the Rigpa Sangha

  • Sogyal Rinpoche, Lerab Ling, France, 22-24 August 2010
  • Sogyal Rinpoche, London, U.K., 30-31 October 2010
  • Sogyal Rinpoche, San Diego, U.S.A., 30 November-4 December 2010
  • Sogyal Rinpoche, Paris, France, 18-19 December 2010
  • Sogyal Rinpoche, Myall Lakes, Australia, 17 & 20 January 2011
  • Sogyal Rinpoche, Haileybury Retreat, U.K., 14-20 April 2014

Further Reading

  • Chögyam Trungpa, Transcending Madness: The Experience of the Six Bardos, The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Volume Six, Ch.6 'The Bardo of Death'.
  • Dzogchen Ponlop, Mind Beyond Death (Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications, 2006), Ch.5 'Evaporating Reality: The Painful Bardo of Dying'.
  • Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, revised and updated edition (Harper San Francisco, 2002), Ch. 14-15.
  • Tsele Natsok Rangdrol, Mirror of Mindfulness: The Cycle of the Four Bardos, translated by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boston & Shaftesbury: Shambhala, 1989), Ch.2 'The Painful Bardo of Dying'.
  • Tulku Thondup, Enlightened Journey—Buddhist Practice as Daily Life, edited by Harold Talbott (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1995), pages 55-62.